GRANGER at Halloween for 10/26/16: THE TEAR IN THE WRAPPER

Truth in advertising“, it read.

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Granger was fed up with the glut of political flyers in his mailbox and inboxes.  Tossing on his desk the garishly colored hit piece in yoga pants by a former state senator, he swung around and gazed unfocused out the window at a grayish, cotton-streaked sky with bruise-blue accents.  Chuffing through his nose, he thought, “Even the sky’s puzzled by it all.”

Bemused, he reached for his “Coffee Made Me Do It” mug.  Just before he got it to his mouth, he noticed the “fun-size” Butterfinger laying on his desk; it had been hidden by the big black mug.  Glancing over at the glass bowl full of assorted Halloween-sized candy, he saw many other bars identical to the one huddled behind his coffee.  You won’t get away from me-e-e . . .

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Amused at the desire-borne moisture in his mouth, he glommed onto the familiar yellow-orange-gold wrapper.  Granger actually licked his lips as he tore the wrapper lengthwise.

Opening the wrapper, he grimaced in disgust.  Really?  Instead of the neat, compact one-by-two-inch chocolate-covered nougat he expected to find, a sharded mess of odd-shaped pieces had fallen onto his black crew-neck tee and khaki pants.

Irritated, he started to grouse about something more to clean up when he suddenly got quiet.

I know people like that, he reasoned.  Brightly packaged, looking like others in The Bowl, like they’ve got it all together–until the wrapper comes off.  Unwrapped, they’re a ragged, jagged collection of misshapen pieces just waiting to fall all over the place.

Yeah, I know people like that.  I’ve been like that.

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As these thoughts jostled each other in his mind, he glanced again at the phrase off the discarded voting flyer:  “Truth In Advertising”.

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Granger’s eyes blurred and his voice thickened as he spoke aloud, a habit of those who spend most of their time alone.  “Oh, yeah.  Many’s the time that, had my wrapper torn, all my hidden insecurities, my personal misgivings, self-doubt, all those questions about myself would be laying all over in a huge, untidy mess just like–here he made a rueful face as he surveyed the slightly-sticky, sweet mess he’d dumped on his clothes– “my ill-fated little candy bar buddy, may it rest in pieces.”

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Later, wearing a comfortable black-and-red shirt with the sleeves rolled half up and a soft pair of old jeans, he stood with mug in left hand and coffee carafe in right, thinking about the recent experience.  Shaking his head as if to wake up, Granger poured a fresh, fragrant cup of Community Golden Caramel, returned to his desk chair and sat pondering.

Is it wrong to present a public appearance that’s attractive, appropriate to one’s task?  Does that not reflect good self-image and -respect?

Is it deceptive to present an outward persona that’s positive and uplifting, even when one’s interior landscape more resembles a barren wasteland?  As a Christ-follower, isn’t being winsome and attractive kind of necessary?

Sipping thoughtfully at the semi-sweet, smooth coffee, he answered his own question.

Deception is willful.  Wearing a mask is intended to hide, to frustrate and conceal.  If those are the reasons for the wrapper, then the advertising is dishonest and disingenuous.

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If one’s desire is to be a consistent positive, encouraging and Christlike witness to one’s own world, then God can be trusted to know how to tenderly deal with the internal brokenness.  To fit the nonfitting.  To create beauty and symmetry just as perfectly as He did at The Original Event.

Rising to refill his mug, Granger thoughtfully nabbed another of the sweet, chocolaty morsels from the Halloween bowl.  Grinning as he softly checked that this one was whole, he admitted to himself, I don’t have this here “for the kids” since none ever come up here.  I have this here for me.  And I’m lovin’ it!

Butterfinger?

© D. Dean Boone, October 2016

 

Categories: Encouragement, Inspirational, Tell-A-Story-Make-A-Point | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Time Trials, 3/21/17: IT WAS NOT PRETTY

“. . . so I start down the path.”

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The phrase from a dear friend’s message caught my eye.  As I reread it, I thought, Isn’t that how a lot of things in this life begin?

You’d think writing about my unusual story of healing would be a joy-filled, swift thing.  Simple.  Bite or two of cake.  Nothing to it.  Just sit down at a keyboard and let my story write itself.

Meme:  “Don’t close the book when bad things happen in your life, just turn the page and begin a new chapter.”

Memes are cool on Facebook.  They can be jarring when one cuts them off the screen and attempts to paste them into real living.  Sometimes life doesn’t fit neatly into the places we’d prefer it did.  Often I’ve found it peeking out from between lines, hidden within and behind things we never said and sure never wanted to hear.

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Nothing about this story has been simple because the bad things kept happening too fast to start a new chapter.  I’ve been writing steadily for almost 20 years, handling practically every subject that exists.  Occasionally I’ve done it well.  This project of baring my closely-held memories, impressions and reflections of impending certain death, teamed with God’s miraculous intervention is many things.  Attaching the concept of ‘simple’ to my journey is as odd as Booger the bloodhound in spandex and a tutu.

Hemingway wrote that writing is simple:  just sit down at your typewriter and bleed on the paper.  The longer I continue writing my story, the more I get his irony.

This story is one for the books.  This one.  It’s an unvarnished, bloody, dirty, septic, foul-smelling, hideously-expensive battle to the death I didn’t ask for and never expected to fight.  I knew from every human perspective and hard, scalpel-edged medical truth that I was going to die.

Why write about it?  I needed somebody who’d been there before to help me, to cushion the goodbyes and the final journey from Here to There.

Trouble is, there wasn’t anyone.  I asked my surgeon if he knew of any patients who had survived what I was experiencing.  He hesitated just long enough for me to know there wasn’t one.  Bravely, I declared as authoritatively as one can with an NG tube stuffed up the nose, “Well, then–I’ll be the first!”

We were in Kansas.  He’d heard the wind blow before.

I’d thought it through during the long years of being fed through Hickman catheters and figured somebody needed to know.  I decided that I at least needed somebody to be able to follow my tracks.  It was important to me that somebody else staggering blindly along my Shadow Valley back trail know where I fell so what’s left of my body could be retrieved for appropriate disposal.  It was that bleak.

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“If you’d had strong enough faith—”  Do us both a favor and don’t go there.  My personal faith in God and the nonstop praying of my Christian family of spiritual warriors is one of the few stable things present in my life, that April and May of 1997.

I didn’t see any of it coming.  No warning signs of my small gut betting it could start sticking together and dying so fast we couldn’t stop it before it killed me.  There were no expectations, no planning strategy.  No online parade of resources existed, nor was there the usual gaggle of others testifying to their experiences.  The docs had to make up a name for it:  Small Bowel Adhesion Disease.  We didn’t know what caused it, and weren’t real sure how to stop it.

What we did know is that suddenly I was dying.  After long months of attempted intervention with three resect surgeries, I was placed on permanent 24/7 TPN therapy and sent home.  I was told the only chance I had was an entire gastrointestinal system transplant:  stomach, spleen, liver, large and small intestines, gall bladder . . .  All of it.  I was told the only patients accepted in that program were morbidly terminal and this transplant was their only hope.  At the time there were only 2 or 3 places in the U.S. that did that procedure.

At age forty-four, I was quietly placed on that waiting list.

Relax.  The story doesn’t end there . . .

© D. Dean Boone, March 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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100-Word Stroll for 3/20/17: SPRING ALWAYS MAKES ME SMILE

“Spring has sprung, the grass is riz; I wonder where all them flars is.”

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I learned that little goofy poem from my brother years ago.  It’s still as silly as always.  And I still let no Spring sneak past without reciting it.

I woke up in the predawn darkness thinking, “This is for the birds.”

Literally.

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Every imaginable beak was wide open, from cardinals’ arias to crows yelling across the street, wanting to know the caws of the ruckus.

There’s nothing like greeting sunrise with a fresh, hot cup of java, enjoying some quiet time in The Word to the serenade of one of God’s finest all-volunteer feathered choirs.  The only voice I miss from my growing-up years is that of the red-wing blackbird.

May you find smiles and a reason for innocent fun today, my friends.  It is once again Spring!

The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.
– e.e.cummings

© D. Dean Boone, March 2017

 

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QTMs for 3/19/17: SHOWER THOUGHTS

It doesn’t much matter where your ‘thinking spot’ is.  Wherever it is, be prepared to listen and remember.  It’s possible you may not have a pad and pen handy.

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My thinking spot is most often the shower.  It’s a little hard to write anything down in there.  I happen to have a rather large mirror in my bathroom, so I finally bought a whiteboard marker to jot cryptic notes that always seem to proliferate in the shower.

From those notes have come some interesting articles, posts, and additional chapters to stories.  I’ve learned to be ready for more than clean hair when I step in the shower each morning.

But I’ve mentioned to the Lord that it wouldn’t bother me much if He were to meet me, say, when I’m more put together and enjoying my first cup of joe.

Just sayin’.

© D. Dean Boone, March 2017

 

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2nd Cup of Coffee, 3/16/17: WHAT WOULD YOU TELL ‘EM?

In one sentence, how would you describe your life’s philosophy?

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When someone asks your children the one thing above all else that you taught them by word and example, what would they say?

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Does it make you nervous to listen to your kids telling someone else about you when they don’t know you’re listening?  Sometimes you hear things you

  • never knew.
  • never wanted to know.
  • always thought they ignored.
  • wouldn’t have dreamed they’d remember.

Of course, it’s important to remember that they’re seeing you from the aggregate of their own life experiences and their age – not yours.  The colors and scenes on their paintings of you will each be different, and will reflect the things that have stuck in their minds about you.  It can be instructive to see yourself through your children’s eyes.

To our original question.  In one short sentence, I believe I can wrap up my lifelong philosophy thus:

Leave it better than you found it.

I’d like to tell you I’ve done that every day, never let my head hit the pillow without assuring everything I touched and everyone I encountered was better.

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I’d really like to tell you that.  I’ve had my share of spectacular trainwrecks, times in life when it seemed no matter how well-intentioned my efforts, the general heading for the whole thing was 180.  Yep.  South.

You know the feeling.  Right?  Sometimes it doesn’t matter how hard you try, your words and your work are questioned, taken wrong, or altogether disregarded.  Things happen to where you can’t keep your word.  You give it your best but it’s not enough.  Life rudely intrudes.  So, no–specific events or personal interactions sometimes aren’t – can’t be – better.

Looking back over the journey thus far is another story.

Everywhere we lived while I was growing up, my mother and dad planted roses.  We lived several different places, some of them only for a school year.  A few of them were pretty humble, too.  That was before The Boones moved in.  Trees and shrubs got trimmed and shaped, the yard was tended, flowers were planted, and there were always several rosebushes, blushing in their new Spring colors, spreading their beauty and perfume.

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The day I left home, I remember Daddy and Mother waving goodbye as they stood among yet more of the stunning roses they always planted wherever they lived.

The lesson was clear without either of them saying a word.


Leave it better than you found it.


Our three saw us spend precious dollars on paint, wallpaper and trim, petunias – and rosebushes.  The floors may have been rotting – okay, they were – yet the yards were kept as neat, tidy and colorful as we could make them.

We planted roses everywhere we ever lived.  Looking out the car’s back window:  “But, Dad, who’ll take care of them?”  Not our responsibility now.  I always prayed whoever made that a home after we did would tend them.

“It’s just a rosebush.”  No.  It’s not just anything.  It’s an idea, a way of living.  It just so happens in this case that planting roses represents it.

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Not a big deal, you say?  Perhaps not.  Yet the lesson Daddy and Mother taught me seems to have caught on.  Our children have begun the process of living in different places.  As they progress from place to place according to education, careers and jobs, the strangest thing keeps happening.

Roses keep appearing everywhere they’ve been.

© D. Dean Boone, March 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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QTMs for 3/13/17: I’M SURE GLAD YOU’RE THERE

“What do you do?”

“I’m a writer.”

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“Oh-h-h…”  (Glancing at the ever-present cell phone) : “Wow, would you look at the time.  Gotta run.  Catch ya later, okay?”

Writers are always jotting ideas and thoughts down in something – in my case, usually a notebook.  Anything can trigger an idea for writing seeds.  Snippets of conversation.  Billboards.  TV commercials.  Sermons.  The turn of phrase by another writer.  Catchy Facebook memes.  A picture somebody sends you . . .

Seeing that middle-distance unfocused glaze in a writer’s eyes can send some folks into conniptions.  Makes ’em nervous, I guess.  I’ve never yet written personally and identifiably about anyone without first securing their permission.  That doesn’t seem to matter.  To many, to be identified as a writer is to become ‘one of those‘.

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Writing is a lonely profession.  It is a time- and energy-consuming effort unappreciated by all but those who dare to do it.  Being a successful writer, then, takes more diligence, not less.  Long hours of each day are spent in creative solitude reading, thinking, praying, discerning, composing and editing.  Coffee.  Definitely coffee.

Dozens of notepads overflow with quotations, notes, thoughts, seeds and ideas.  And that all exists before you ever see a word here.

“Wait.  You said lonely?”  Sure.  I can get all kinds of great ideas in a crowded room, a hectic office or on a busy street.  Food court in the mall.  Sitting in an audience prior to opening curtain.  Standing in line at the tag office.  “10-items-or-less” at WalMart.

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Focusing on how to make those ideas spark and pop for you?  That’s done when I’m alone.  That’s why it means so much to me to know you’re there.  You could be reading anything by anybody.  That you choose to make time for my posts, my devotional thoughts and the occasional short story that hopefully leaves you hungry for more means much to me.Image result for writers and solitude

Occasionally I receive feedback from something I wrote to encourage somebody.  A couple months ago I got word that a man whose life and work had influenced me was facing serious health issues.  I messaged him privately with some words of encouragement, knowing the combination of his physical concerns coupled with his busy career likely meant I’d hear little or nothing back.  That was okay.  My work is to be a master encourager.  The responses are great, but one learns not to wait around on them.

I was surprised when only a day went by before my friend sent me a humbling response of gratitude.  It caught me by surprise and warmed me, for it came during a time of testing and physical challenge.  I meant to get back to him and tell him that his message came just when I was wondering if my efforts to write encouragement into others’ lives were making any difference.

I got busy, as we all do, and didn’t get back to it.  It’s going to be a little longer before I can do that, though.  I received word this morning that my friend transitioned from Here to Home sometime during the last couple of days.

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I’m glad God’s been helping me develop a naturally-inquisitive, creative mind into an instrument He uses to lift and encourage others.  Sure, it’d be nice to be the life of a party once in awhile.  To be chosen first or second instead of when nobody else is available.  To be sought out without first having to seek another’s attention.  Nobody I know likes having someone they know walk right past them to excitedly greet somebody else just behind them.  Introverts will get this.  But, then, introverts get a lot.  It’s why many of us become writers.

“So, is the loneliness, the intentional solitude worth it?”

Yes.  If the harvest of the literary seeds I plant daily consists of strength, inner light, empowerment and encouragement for others?  If something I write strikes a spark that sets the spirit of another ablaze with renewed passion for their life’s work?  If my stories soften the armored shell of damaged hearts and allow love’s healing flow to soak through again?  If my words  gently lead readers closer to the One by whose healing, and in whose name I do all this?

Yes.  It is worth it.  And I’m glad, reader, that you’re there.

© D. Dean Boone, March 2017

 

 

 

 

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#28: BE THE DIFFERENCE GOD MEANS YOU TO BE!

“Somebody needs to do something about that.”

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When someone sitting at the next table in, say, Cheddars says that, they’re saying out loud what a bunch of folks are thinking.

That’s your cue.

I can see your magnificence from here.  The real question is, can you see it?  There are too many good, principled, able people sitting quietly on the curb of Life because they’re unconvinced of their own ability to “do something about that”.

You know what these 28 Ways To Nail TREMENDOUS are all about, right?  They’re all about EXCELLENCE.

God created some unique, terrific, tremendous stuff in you that He’s been wanting to use to touch and encourage others–right around you, right where you work.  It’s time to stop withholding those blessings and get after being the reason they have hope and learn how to smile again.

Now, about that Excellence thing . . .

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What would progress look like to you?  Strong reasons generate strong effort; I believe those reasons need to be personalized to fit you.  When you own your ‘why‘, it’s amazing how God lines up the other details.

Change “failure” to “a new lesson”.  And other than learning what didn’t work or how not to do whatever it was, pay no further attention to them.  Those lessons from experience are of tremendous value – more than perceived successes ever are.  They’re actually part of succeeding in your reaching toward excellence.

Listen to your own heart, mind, and spirit first.  Others love to give you limitless ideas for your life, but you’re not obligated to pay attention to them.  They don’t know you as God does.  Pay even less attention to your critics.  If they’ve time to be poking at you, they’re not busy making the difference they should be.

Never let anyone judge your story by the chapter they walked in on.  God’s the Author; all you’re doing is writing it down.  Your journey is as unique as are your abilities and skill sets.  What you have to offer others is unlike anyone else, your story needs to be told, and there’s no one who can tell it like you can.

Today’s the day to be that ‘Somebody’ doing something about it!

© D. Dean Boone, March 2017

 

 

 

 

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QTMs for 3/9/17: SO–HOW’S YOUR NOW?

You’ve heard or read the phrase, “being in the moment”.  The irony is that I began this post in June of last year.  The sad truth is that this subject is more appropriate now than ever.

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With the techsplosion of modern minicomputers we call smartphones, we are now living in an unparalleled historical era.  Never before have we experienced persons in such close physical proximity while at the same time being everywhere else except ‘HERE’ and ‘NOW’.

In other words, we’ve never before been so not ‘in the moment’ as now.

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I know you’ve seen it.  Reception.  Food court at the mall.  Church.  Bleachers at a softball game.  Sitting at ‘that’ intersection, waiting on the light to change.  Airport terminal TSA line.  Hanging at someone’s house.  Anywhere friends gather.  It’s rare that a full minute will go by before one or more pull out their handheld mainframe and escape the present.

All it takes is for the first one to draw their device; instantly everyone’s appears, like weapons magically appearing in Secret Service agents’ hands.  It’d be amusing if it wasn’t so troubling.  I know what you did there.  Your mind just flickered to earlier in the day when you saw exactly that happen.  You might’ve even been one of the agents . . .  Sadly, being that quick on the draw with eWeapons, being so focused on them makes the viewer completely oblivious to what’s going on around him.  Unsafe on multiple levels.

“Now, wait.  I have the YouVersion Bible on my phone!”  Good one.  Okay, let’s reason together.  You wear glasses, right?  And you’re aware that Facebook reflects off them, right?  I’m not being snarky; we’ve all had to seek forgiveness for that one.

There’s nothing wrong with playing the occasional game of Bejeweled or WordSearch.  Well, no–not in church.  Neither is there a problem in shooting off a quick text message or fielding the occasional phone call.  The real problems arise when playing games or texting or yakking on the phone take immediate precedence over the real people standing or sitting mere feet from you.

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There’s an even more disturbing trend.  Because of the habit of mentally blocking out the person in front of you in favor of, say, reminiscing about The Great Pork Rind Party of ’88 with your old college chum in Binghamton, New York, you’re reinforcing the steady erosion of the habit of interpersonal communications.

You’re losing the ability to converse with other people in person.

You’re willingly surrendering it.  Doubt me?  Sit and listen to the fumbling attempts of some sitting around you to carry on a lucid conversation.  It’s tough to translate Emoji into English.

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Know what sitting mere feet from someone fiddling with their device conveys?  “You aren’t as important to me as ________.”

Know what response you can expect?

  • friendship drift
  • loss of the relationship
  • professional courtesy vs. personal attachment

This is no diatribe against technology nor the availability, even necessity for instant communications.  It’s a plea for some sanity, a voice crying in the crowd standing close enough to touch one another, yet each totally oblivious to anything and anyone around them – their entire self-contained world a centripetal vacuum guaranteed by earbuds and iPhone.

“Okay, but wait.  I work hard all day!  Being able to get comfortable and just veg with Facebook or a few favorite games helps me unpack all the day’s baggage.”

Sure.  I get that.  I also know a few minutes easily morphs into hours.  The developers of all those nifty ‘Net sites know it, too.  All I’m asking is that you consider how your preoccupation with your electronic pal comes across to those close to you.  When you have a closer relationship with your pad or phone than you do with those you say you love, there’s something wrong.

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I’ve seen many a Bible clasped in lifeless hands at funerals.  Mementos.  Pictures.  Favorite toys.

I’ve never yet seen an iPad in those dead hands.

Just sayin’.

© D. Dean Boone, March 2017

 

 

 

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QTMs for 3/8/17: THE MOTIVATED JESUS

I think it all comes down to motivation.  If you really want to do something, you will work hard for it. ~Edmund Hillary

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Jesus meant to go through with it.

He was aiming through that Cross, focusing on everything beyond it.  Everything Mark, Matthew, Luke, John and Paul wrote about makes it clear:  Jesus, Mary’s son, raised by Joseph in Nazareth, God in Person, was prepared to be lied and gossiped about, become the butt of everyone’s jokes, be misunderstood and ultimately abandoned by His best friends, be manhandled, rejected, abused, disfigured and brutalized until hanging there flatlined.  Dead.

He knew what would happen.  He knew them.  He knew us.

We don’t like being told we’re self-important, corrupt, lying sinners whose vindictive, vicious hatred for anyone daring to point it out wants the messenger ruined, shamed and preferably dead.

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Even God.

Jesus grew up around the self-satisfied, pompous hypo- and hypercritically-religious Jews.  He knew what it was like to disagree with and run afoul of the smug, slick, conniving political poseurs who could flip the ‘religiously pious’ switch when it favored their agenda.  They’d become rich by publicly seeming to honor their promises while privately doing little else but lining their pockets and consolidating their power.  And when those whom His teachings challenged were both religious and political power brokers?

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Oh, yeah.  He was under no illusions about what He faced in bucking the world’s status quo.  He knew the culture surrounding Him, understood better than any of us ever will what was at stake.

Jesus went to the Cross anyway.

He had His pensive, fretful moments.  The Gospels point out Jesus often walked off by himself to have some quiet time and talk to God about things.  The Garden was the most wrenching.  Yet Jesus never hesitated; didn’t even slow down.  We’re told He looked straight through that rough, bloody cross to the infinite eternal victory three days beyond it.

Jesus, the Christ, was motivated enough to make overcoming victory available to every one of us that He put up with humanity’s most hideous, vulgar debasement to make it happen.  He loves you and I that much.

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So, yes.  He does have a claim on your heart, though He never has nor never will force you to give it to Him.  That’s not love; that’s servitude.  Duty.

In these Lenten weeks leading up to Passion Week and Resurrection Sunday, take a few moments to consider this.  Nobody was left out of Jesus’s sacrificing His earthly life to make God’s forgiveness and salvation available to them.

Nobody.  That ‘whoever’ in John 3:16?  He means it.

All that’s necessary to claim that prize is to reach out to Him, ask forgiveness, and receive it.

Jesus was motivated to do what He did.  I’d say offering forgiveness and a new life in and with Him would be a mighty powerful motivating factor on our part to decide to accept what God offers.

Wouldn’t you?

© D. Dean Boone, March 2017

 

 

 

 

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2nd Cup: THE LURE OF WHAT-IFS

If you’re determined enough, you can use anything to keep lifting you toward your dreams.

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Even the “What-Ifs”.

Stephen Coonts wrote, “If-onlys are a poison that can kill you as dead as arsenic.  They rob you of the will to live and destroy your ability to cope with life.  At some point, all of us have to let go of what-might-have-been and go on down the road of life.”The Art of War

I read a lot.  I don’t know if Coonts was revealing a character’s philosophy, or doing a little of Hemingway’s bleeding on the paper.  If the latter, I respectfully offer this thought.

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The “if-onlys” can do those things.  Spending too much time dwelling on the past is unhealthy; life isn’t meant to be lived backwards.  God created us to walk forward.  We don’t make coffee the same as before.  Well, unless one is enjoying a retreat in a mountain cabin . . .  but that’s for another story.

“If-onlys” can also become a vital tool for personal growth and the continuing quest for personal and spiritual excellence.

The man or woman who evaluates plans for moving ahead by learning from “If-onlys” from the past is wise.  He who refuses to learn from history is doomed to repeat it, right?

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Patient:  “Doc, I got this pain in my shoulder.”

Doctor:  “Have you ever had that before?”

Patient:  “Yeah.”

Doctor:  “Well, it looks like you’ve got it again.”

Patient, raising left arm and wincing:  “But, Doc, it hurts when I do this!”

Doctor:  “Then don’t do that.”

You’re ahead of me.  I know that because I know my readers.  I believe we’ve all looked ourselves in the mirror, heaved a sigh, and said, “That thing you did before?  Looks like you just did it again.”

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Some feel scrutinizing past actions or inactions is counterproductive.  If the sole purpose is to bemoan and wallow, I agree.  Not just counterproductive, but harmful.

However, with Time’s passing and Life’s wisdom, taking another gander at past attitudes, thoughts and actions may well hold keys to unlocking some enriching moments yet ahead.

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I believe in positioning myself to make the best of the time, energy, health and living remaining to me in this life.  That is best done by heeding the aggregate of past and present lessons.  It lets me extract from it the glistering sparklement of truth-gems that will help me not repeat former errors, and might even help me create some amazing new experiences.

So here’s to the “If-onlys” of my life.  It’s my continuing prayer that I use those past experiences to continue informing my present journey, while preparing me to walk on in stronger faith toward whatever wonderful things God has ahead for me.

I don’t know.  You might want to give it a try.

I love you, and I believe in you.

© D. Dean Boone, February 2017

 

 

Categories: Common Sense, Encouragement, Inspirational | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

QTMs, 2/25/17: “HOW’S THAT ‘HEALING’ THING WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA?”

When I first heard The Voice in my left ear asking, “Do you want to be healed?”, I had no idea what was involved when I answered, “Yes.”

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Since that early February Sunday 14 years ago, I’ve been learning some things.

  • God’s healing is always a matter of ‘through’.  There’s always something God wants to do when He heals a person that extends beyond their own individual case.  It’s meant to work in and through them, benefitting more than just the one He touches.  In the Gospel accounts of Jesus healing people, there were always others around.

If you’ve experienced God’s healing touch, ask yourself:  “Who were those other people around me when God healed me–what happened in their lives, too?”  You may not know the answer to that Earthside, yet it’s worth thinking about.  Your healing wasn’t just for you.

  • God’s healing is often in response to somebody’s prayer besides yours.  The minute it became clear I was dying, I began praying for God’s intervention.  I’ve never prayed with more focus nor singlemindedness.  I prayed and kept dying.  More laser focus and singlemindedness.  Still dying by ounces.  Okay, this faith deal wasn’t working as advertised or I was doing something wrong, though I quoted and claimed every verse about trusting in God I could find.  I spoke all those powerful verses about God being able to do ANYTHING.  Just kept dying, and if anything getting worse.

I complained.

God:  “It wasn’t your prayer I was waiting to hear.” 

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I didn’t find out until later that both my wife and my son, in separate instances, finally gave up and said something like, “Okay, God.  If You’re going to take him, just do it.  Either that or heal him.  I can’t take any more of this watching him being repeatedly cut open, carved on and still starving to death!”  It was when they both reached that point of total surrender to what God was wanting to do – either way – that I heard The Voice that Sunday morning as I sat quietly, eyes closed, listening to a song.

  • God’s healing is unique, individually customized to each recipient’s need.  I always figured healed meant, well–healed.  You know.  Total restoration?  Nothing left undone.  Everything back the way it had been, only better.  New and improved.  Brand new.  For me, that meant instantly being transformed back into the 6′, 250-lb. strongman I’d been.  Able to leap garden sheds with a short stepladder.  Well, at least I could still pick one end of it up.  If you’re big and strong enough to move the shed, you don’t need to jump over it.

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God had other ideas.  From His exhaustless bag of Celestial Stuff He gave me back a somewhat-marginalized 180-lb., 5’10 body.  Having always been muscular, I pouted, “I can’t lift up garden sheds anymore.”  God gently slid His huge arm around my now-kind-of-scrawny shoulders and said, “I’ve other things I want you to be lifting from now on.”

“I want you to lift other people’s spirits and attitudes by your writing and speaking.  I’d never have gotten your attention long enough to stick with this gift, had I returned to you the body you had.”  God’s healing is never found on the BOGO table.  It’s as unique and personal as you are.

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  • God’s healing always occurs at least in part in ways defying human description and understanding.  God uses stunning combinations of rational and irrational, known and unknown, human and Divine help in His healing artistry.  You’ve heard and read story after story how people came through otherwise normal treatments with anything-but-normal results no one could explain.  Surgeons, med techs, RNs, and specialists all did pretty much the same thing they’d done hundreds of times before – yet here came jaw-dropping, billboard-changing results NObody could have anticipated.

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Then there are the other times when God steps in, revealing a raw, shockwaving power unknown to our world but natural in His.  That’s what happened with me.  Nothing could have prepared me or my family for what God began that day, though we were people of God and strong believers in prayer.  None of us have been quite the same.  Even those who have since chosen to walk apart from God and His Word know – KNOW – His power to heal.

So you ask, “How’s that healing thing workin’ out for ya?”  Day by day, friend.  You see, this thing I’m living in is medically impossible.  What God began that February Sunday back in ‘o3 continues every morning.  I know – we all know – if God decided He was done with whatever He had in mind in working through me, it would only be a matter of weeks and I’d go see Him.

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I don’t expect that, though.  Know why?  There are still stories for me to write.  You know the kind:  those that always seem to have a strange sense of Heaven woven into them in ways not pushy but definitely pointing the reader to God.  There are still many posts to compose that elevate and lift and encourage and challenge.  There are books needing to be written and published.

Well, there is that other deal.  I promised God two things when He healed me.  First, that I’d never bore anyone with ‘just another story’.   But, next, that I’d never let any chance go by to tell someone a little of my story.  God’s not done doing stuff in His world – and I’m a walking, talking testimony of it!

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How’s the healing thing workin’ out?  Exactly how God wants it.  Each day’s a new adventure.  Each comment in response to something I’ve written, or each time I’ve spoken, opens just that many more windows of thought.

It’s a thing of joy just to be alive and share them!

© D. Dean Boone, February 2017

 

 

 

Categories: Encouragement, Inspirational, Tell-A-Story-Make-A-Point | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment